I got to watch my first playoff game of the NBA season on Saturday, and naturally it was the Boston Celtics vs. the Miami Heat. In the second half of that game which the Celtics ultimately won to take the series to 1-2, Rajon Rondo suffered a gruesome dislocated elbow when Heat guard Dwyane Wade pulled him to the ground.
I thought at the time that was a dirty play and should have resulted in at least an intentional foul, if not a flagrant foul. After review, the focus was so much on Rajon's elbow bending in an unnatural and horrifying manner that I all but forgot about my anger toward Wade. Fortunately, the injury to Rondo was not as serious as it might have been, and it certainly isn't as bad as it looked on replay. Rondo went on to pull a Willis Reed and returned to finish the game effectively using only his right hand, it was a rather incredible thing to watch.
Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus reminds me of my first impression that Wade made a dirty play:
The way I saw it, Rondo moved in behind Wade, they got their feet tangled and Wade went down. He had his right arm behind him, hooked around Rondo. As Wade fell, he wrapped his arm tighter around Rondo and actually jerked him to the ground, as if he were Louden Swain from "Vision Quest". Wade might not have meant to take out Rondo's elbow, but when you behave negligently, bad stuff happens. If you don't see the play that way, that's fine. We won't be suppressing any points of view here. But I will say that Wade has done little to earn the benefit of the doubt, and if I'm Doc Rivers, I might send Big Baby Davis in to take a chunk out of the increasingly insufferable guard. (Seriously, what was with the 1950s frat boy look Wade and James were sporting in the postgame presser?) Davis is not doing anything else of value, so why not?
That's exactly what I thought I saw. Now, I don't advocate sending Davis in to rough up Wade (although Wade unquestionably deserves some consequence for his reckless acts), but it wouldn't shock me to see a Celtic set a really hard screen on Wade if the opportunity presents itself.